Did you know counseling is all about wellness?  Because it's such a big part of my life, I figured I'd add a few counseling related topics into the blog from time to time.  Let me know what you think!

About a month ago, I noticed that I was tired all.the.time.  I could sleep for 6 hours or 9 hours {ahem, or more} and still wake up feeling groggy and zombie-like all day.  I couldn't seem to catch up on sleep or do anything to make myself feel more rested.  And then entered some new information: "you're grinding your teeth at night."  Mr. S&S had been enduring a habit that I hadn't really had since first grade {when, my mom likes to tell people, I sounded like a freight train coming through the walls.  cute. somehow, no permanent damage to the teeth}.

After that, I started to piece together that the stress I've been feeling {and suppressing} from grad school work, counseling high needs children, trying to put my best work into a blog, and worrying/ trying not to worry about our future {lots of things up in the air right now} had crept into my sleep.  And ruined it.

So I began to research.  I wanted to make changes for myself that would be healthy and research-based, not just O magazine based {no offense to Oprah}.  The following things have worked for me, so far.  And so far, no more grinding!

1. Carve out a few minutes a day for quiet meditation.  
This doesn't have to be a scary zen-like trance for an hour a day.  Start small: 5 or 10 minutes.  Some options of things to meditate on: things you are grateful for, scripture {my personal choice, as my faith is very important to me}, body scans {this is where you start at the top of your head, thinking about what's going on, what you feel, then slowly move down to your toes.  don't make any changes, just notice}, or anything else that is calming.  Research supports that daily meditation has biological and psychological benefits.

2. A pre-bed ritual
This one has been tougher for me to get right, but is a very cool thing.  Find just a few things {maybe 15 minutes} that help you calm down and get into the relaxing sleep mindset.  For instance, make a cup of chamomile tea, turn off all your screens {iphone, ipad, computer, tv} and most of the lights in the house {think about symbolically powering down for the day}, then wash your face with something really nice smelling {or take a warm bath}, and only creep into bed when you're ready to sleep.  Take your time with these things {walking around with hot tea will make you slow down!}, and do it fairly consistently.

3. Lavender
This is totally an excuse to buy that lavender diffuser you {I} have been wanting.  All those products that say lavender will help you get better sleep: they're right!  Several studies I found say people who slept in a room where they smelled lavender got better REM sleep and woke up feeling more rested.  I have a spray that I've sprayed on my pillow and in the bedroom, and I've really enjoyed it {side note: this is SO something my father would do.  my mom is definitely laughing somewhere right now.  further proof that you become your parents.}

Those are just my three bits of wisdom for today.  Let me know if you'd like the references to the articles I used {I was just trying to spare most of you from making this into an APA research paper}.

What about you?  How do you de-stress and get better sleep?

Sleeping photo from cnn.com

One Comment

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